0

a. If Mary tells you the details of her job, she would be failing in her duty.

b. If Mary tells you the details of her job, she will be failing in her duty.

I know the sentence does not belong to any of the traditional conditional sentence types, but I have seen this sort of pairing (present tense in the if-clause and "would in the main clause) before. I'd like to know if a is correct, and if so, how it differs from b.

0

1 Answer 1

-2

if present tense + subject would/will.


Examples - a. If Mary tells you the details of her job, she would be failing in her duties.--v--b. If Mary tells you the details of her job, she will be failing in her duties.

Q. I have seen this sort of pairing (present tense in the if-clause and "would in the main clause) before. I'd like to know if a is correct, and if so, how it differs from b.


A. Yes, "a." is correct as "would" is used as a conditional verb.

Would is a past tense form of will. It is also a conditional verb that indicates an action that would happen under certain conditions.

Conditional verbs are used to create conditional sentences, which express hypothetical or unlikely situations. Conditional verbs can be used in the past, present, or future tense, and auxiliary verbs like can/could, will/would, and may/might are important in forming conditionals.

Example

If I had enough money, I would travel around the world. Ref Grammarly

"b." is incorrect in this case; as a modal verb is usually followed by the root form of a verb. If we rewrite "b.2 If Mary tells you the details of her job, she will fail in her duties. The sentence now has a different meaning or implication may be a better way to explain it. The use of will now indicates something in the far future. If it was to happen in the "near" future we would not use "will" but "going to" Expressing a Future Action: When To Use “Will” And “Going To”.

For b. to be correct we would have to write

If Mary tells you the details of her job, she is "going to" be failing in her duties.

Will can be a present tense verb that means to cause something to happen through force of desire. It can also be a modal auxiliary verb in various tenses.

USE WILL FOR A FAR FURTHER FUTURE ACTION One important detail about “WILL” is that it is most often used to discuss things or situations that may take a long time to happen.

WHEN TO USE “GOING TO” One huge difference in using GOING TO versus WILL, is that you use GOING TO when the action was already decided on even before speaking of it.

11
  • It might be helpful to discuss the difference between "If Mary tells you the details of her job, she would be failing in her dutyies" and "If Mary told you the details of her job, she would be failing in her duties."
    – Apollyon
    Apr 2, 2021 at 9:14
  • @Apollyon, yes I considered that but it rather defeats the question regarding the present tense and the past tense inferred by would (which actually is not a past tense). Therefore I decided to leave the present tense "as is". Note also it would be come "If Mary had told you the details of her job, she would have failed in her duties."
    – Brad
    Apr 2, 2021 at 9:30
  • If sentence b is really incorrect, I am not sure if the reason is "a modal verb is usually followed by the root form of a verb." After all, there are sentences like "If you quit your job, you will be doing something stupid."
    – Apollyon
    Apr 2, 2021 at 9:47
  • I disagree that (b) is incorrect. I would say "If she told you, she would..." and "If she tells you, she will...". Apr 2, 2021 at 10:12
  • @KateBunting Would you like to write a reply?
    – Apollyon
    Apr 2, 2021 at 10:25

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .